Thursday, April 16, 2009

Conficker Virus update and helpful hints

Conficker is scheduled to go "live" on April 1, but whoever's controlling it could choose not to wreak havoc but instead do absolutely nothing, waiting for a time when there's less heat. They can do this because the way Conficker is designed is extremely clever: Rather than containing a list of specific, static instructions, Conficker reaches out to the web to receive updated marching orders via a huge list of websites it creates. Conficker.C -- the latest bad boy -- will start checking 50,000 different semi-randomly-generated sites a day looking for instructions, so there's no way to shut down all of them. If just one of those sites goes live with legitimate instructions, Conficker keeps on trucking.
Conficker's a nasty little worm that takes serious efforts to bypass your security defenses, but you aren't without some tools in your arsenal to protect yourself.
Your first step should be the tools you already have: Windows Update, to make sure your computer is fully patched, and your current antivirus software, to make sure anything that slips through the cracks is caught.
But if Conficker's already on your machine, it may bypass certain subsystems and updating Windows and your antivirus at this point may not work. If you are worried about anything being amiss -- try booting into Safe Mode, which Conficker prevents, to check -- you should run a specialized tool to get rid of Conficker.
Microsoft offers a web-based scanner (note that some users have reported it crashed their machines; I had no trouble with it), so you might try one of these downloadable options instead: Symantec's Conficker (aka Downadup) tool, Trend Micro's Cleanup Engine, or Malwarebytes. Conficker may prevent your machine from accessing any of these websites, so you may have to download these tools from a known non-infected computer if you need them. Follow the instructions given on each site to run them successfully. (Also note: None of these tools should harm your computer if you don't have Conficker.)
As a final safety note, all users -- whether they're worried about an infection or know for sure they're clean -- are also wise to make a full data backup today.
What won't work? Turning your PC off tonight and back on on April 2 will not protect you from the worm (sorry to the dozens of people who wrote me asking if this would do the trick). Temporarily disconnecting your computer from the web won't help if the malware is already on your machine -- it will simply activate once you connect again. Changing the date on your PC will likely have no helpful effect, either. And yes, Macs are immune this time out. Follow the above instructions to detect and remove the worm.
My helpful hints
Windows users we are safe from the upcoming virus happening tomorrow if all of you have updated your computer since March. Apparently Microsoft and our friend Bill Gates has sent updates to their security center on all computers to protect us from the virus that is happening tomorrow. So we are safe for now unless those idiots find a way to get around the Security measures.
If you have not protected your computer against this virus I advise you all to update immedately that way your computer will not be taken out by those douches who don't have nothing better to do than to screw around with our computers.
To update your computer go to Start Menu and then Mircosoft Update. It shouldn't take but 15 minutes-1 hour unless you ignore the updates.
MySpace and Facebook Users: Do not answer any messages or click any links like the ones that appeared here on DA. Thoes are the ones which starts the virus. Also people with Macs protect yourselves by keeping away from those sites for a while.
Don't download music from music sharing places such as Napster, Limewire or Kazza. Those are high risk areas at the moment. This virus will kill your computer.
The Windows updates are the only ways to make sure your computer can ride out any virus.
For laptop users and ones who are planning on getting a laptop make sure when you set them up to have Automatic updates always on. This way it'll update automatically and you won't have to update manually. It's a pain in the butt to update over 100 updates that you've ignored thinking it's not important to update.
The best virus scanning software to use are the followingMcAfeeNorton Antivirus
These two offer a 90 day free trial and you can also purchase them for a reasonable price after the trial runs out.
Those of you who are on the Comcast Cable internet service you will get Mcafee for free and it'll last forever.
Avoid online banking as much as possible. It is pretty dangerous since many banks have had security problems in the past and you do not want to lose your account numbers or money.
Online shopping is ok but check the security certificate on the sites. To do this you can right click and then scroll down to properties in the menu that pops up once you right click. If you have the Mcafee Tool bar and Site Advisor it will help as well.
Green sites mean they are valid and ok to browseRed Sites mean Get the hell out of there before your computer is hit hard.White sites mean they are unknown.

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